California water news slider

DAILY DIGEST: Feinstein fumes as Trump team waives enviro review for Cadiz project; Drought may be over, but Californians are still saving water; Fly above the Sierra to see what’s in store for California reservoirs; and more …

In California water news today, Feinstein fumes as Trump team waives environmental review for Mojave water project; Trump administration boosts huge Mojave Desert water-pumping project; Drought may be over, but Californians are still saving water; California’s water savings reached above 25% in February, more than double the same time last year; Northern Sierra is now only 5″ from wettest year on record; Fly above the Sierra to see what’s in store for California reservoirs; Migratory bird habitat shrinking in California; CVP farmers see improvement, frustration; Six images show what happened to California’s drought; and more …

In the news today …

Feinstein fumes as Trump team waives environmental review for Mojave water project:  “The Trump administration has handed a big boost to a private water venture in Southern California, angering California’s senior senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who said the decision could “destroy pristine public land” in the Mojave Desert.  In a little-noticed memorandum issued last month, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management effectively relieved the Cadiz water project of the requirement to undergo a federal environmental review, which the company had sought to avoid. The decision greatly boosts the prospects for Cadiz, which wants to tap water from under the Mojave and sell it to thirsty water districts in Southern California. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Feinstein fumes as Trump team waives environmental review for Mojave water project

Trump administration boosts huge Mojave Desert water-pumping project:  “The Trump administration has removed a major roadblock to plans by a Santa Monica company to pump ancient groundwater from below the Mojave Desert and sell it to urban areas of Southern California.  The federal Bureau of Land Management has rescinded a 2015 administrative finding that Cadiz, Inc. needed to obtain a federal right of way permit and thus had to complete comprehensive environmental studies before it could build a water pipeline within 43 miles of railroad right of way owned by the Arizona & California Railroad. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Trump administration boosts huge Mojave Desert water-pumping project

Trump eases the way for controversial pumping project in the Mojave Desert:  “In another U-turn from existing environmental policy, the Trump administration has eased the way for a controversial California desert water project that President Obama’s team had blocked.  Federal directives drafted under Obama had erected a major obstacle to Cadiz Inc.’s long-standing plans to pump Mojave Desert groundwater and sell it to urban Southern California.  But in a March 29 memo, an acting assistant director at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management revoked two legal guidances that underpinned the agency’s 2015 decision that Cadiz could not use an existing federal railroad right-of-way for a new water pipeline to carry supplies from the project’s proposed well field to the Colorado River Aqueduct. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Trump eases the way for controversial pumping project in the Mojave Desert

Drought may be over, but Californians are still saving water:  “Californians are still conserving substantial amounts of water even as Gov. Jerry Brown appears ready to rescind or relax his drought declaration.  The State Water Resources Board announced Tuesday that urban Californians reduced water usage by 25.1 percent in February, compared with the state’s baseline year of 2013.  The February conservation results were substantially better than a year ago, when mandatory restrictions were in place for much of California but the savings rate was only 11.9 percent. … ” Read more here: Drought may be over, but Californians are still saving water 

California’s water savings reached above 25% in February, more than double the same time last year:  “Record winter rainfall may have vanquished the state’s five-year drought, but that hasn’t stopped Californians from conserving water.  California’s urban water conservation for the month of February was 25.1 percent, more than double the 11.9 percent savings in February 2016 and the lowest amount of daily water consumed per capita to date, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.  “Even with a banner year for winter precipitation, Californians have continued to practice sensible conservation, with a significant drop in water use in the South Coast,” said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the state water board in a statement. ... ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  California’s water savings reached above 25% in February, more than double the same time last year

Northern Sierra is now only 5″ from wettest year on record:  “Only 5 more inches.  That’s the amount of precipitation the northern stretch of the Sierra Nevada needs between now and September 30 to become the wettest water year on record.  The Eight-Station Index, a measure of precipitation in the northern Sierra that helps determine the status of Northern California’s water supply, currently stands at 83.5 inches.  It’s only another storm or two away from the current record of 88.5 that was hit in the 1982–83 season. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Northern Sierra is now only 5″ from wettest year on record

Fly above the Sierra to see what’s in store for California reservoirs:  “As the turbine screams to life on a Bell 407 helicopter, PG&E snow surveyors ready their measuring equipment for their monthly check of the Sierra snowpack.  Surveyors use the helicopter to access remote areas along the Sierra crest, buried in an above-normal snowpack.  Each month, PG&E sends its staff hydrographer into the backcountry to survey the snow and its water content. ... ” Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  Fly above the Sierra to see what’s in store for California reservoirs

Migratory bird habitat shrinking in California:  “The Sacramento Valley is a globally important resting and refueling stop for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. The valley provides habitat for more than 400,000 birds making their way from Alaska to Argentina and back.  A new study shows the amount of flooded habitat available during peak migration for the birds has decreased every year for the last 30 years. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Migratory bird habitat shrinking in California

CVP farmers see improvement, frustration:  “A significantly improved water allocation for farmers in the western San Joaquin Valley means more acres will be planted and more crops and jobs produced. But farmers say there’s also a sense of what might have been if they had received a full water allocation from the Central Valley Project, or even if the existing 65 percent allocation had come sooner.  Farmers, employees and equipment are out in force throughout the Westside, harvesting onions, lettuce and parsley, and planting summer crops such as processing tomatoes and sweet corn. Farms in the region obtain surface water through contracts with the CVP; they received no contract water in 2014-15 and a 5 percent allocation last year. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  CVP farmers see improvement, frustration

Six images show what happened to California’s drought:  “California looks to be resuscitated this spring, with green stretching the length of the state and the desert erupting in a colorful mosaic fueled by a super bloom of flowers. The state’s wet winter has erased a surface drought more than five years in the making. Now, many reservoirs have been topped off, rivers are running and the snowpack – so meager just two years ago as to be almost unmeasurable – is piled 50ft (15m) high in some places.  Officially, the state’s emergency drought regulations are still in place, but that’s likely to change soon as Gov. Jerry Brown said he wanted to wait until the end of the rainy season. It’s unclear yet whether the governor will revoke all or just parts of the regulations. … ” Read more from Water Deeply here: Six images show what happened to California’s drought

In commentary today …

Unheeded warnings past, future bring big consequences Thomas Elias writes, “Ask the residents of San Jose’s drying-out Rock Springs neighborhood and other nearby areas if it pays to ignore warnings about future disasters that seem in normal times to be nothing more than distant, negative fantasies.  During the heavy rains of February, when a crisis caused by a poorly-built spillway at the Oroville Dam drew worldwide headlines, the San Jose neighborhood and areas around it suffered at least $50 million of avoidable damage to private property and about $23 million in public property damage. Some estimates of the total toll come to more than $100 million. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Unheeded warnings past, future bring big consequences

California stormwater ‘fee’ bill should be flushed down the drain, says the OC Register:  They write, “It’s more than a matter of definition. It’s an attempt to evade the requirements of Proposition 218, which prevents local governments from calling taxes “fees” to get around Proposition 13’s provision that two-thirds of voters must approve tax increases.  Proposition 218 included an exception for increases to taxes, fees and assessments for trash, household water and sewer service. By redefining “sewer” to include stormwater, Hertzberg’s bill would allow local governments to pay for costly stormwater management projects simply by adding hundreds or thousands of dollars to property tax bills. ... ” Read more from the OC Register here:  California stormwater ‘fee’ bill should be flushed down the drain

A smarter approach to infrastructureSuneel Kamlani writes,When the American Society of Civil Engineers published its latest Infrastructure Report Card last month, the results were sobering: a grade of D+ for the U.S. and an estimated price tag of $4.6 trillion to make needed repairs by 2025. Such shortcomings have gotten widespread coverage in recent years, with images of Amtrak derailments, crumbling highways and the damaged Oroville Dam vividly illustrating the costs inflicted by decades of underinvestment.  So far, though, Congress has been unable to come up with a sustainable model for funding necessary improvements. ... ”  Read more from Bloomberg View here:  A smarter approach to infrastructure

In regional news and commentary today …

Weed water group asks watermasters for assistance:  “Numerous members of the Water for Citizens of Weed California group made their voices heard at a meeting of the Scott Valley and Shasta Valley Watermaster District on March 29. The group is requesting help from the SSWD to resolve the water rights dispute between the City of Weed and Roseburg Forest Products.  The letter begins, “Our City is a water rights holder and more than 1,000 of our citizens are users of surface water from Beaughan Springs in the Shasta River basin.“  It continues, “Our main water supply is threatened due to the actions of Roseburg Forest Products (RFP) which claims rights to 2.0 cfs of water from Beaughan Springs, water which has historically been used by the people of Weed. ... ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Weed water group asks watermasters for assistance

Redding: State panel may make river fishing closure permanent: “For the past two years fisheries officials — concerned about the plummeting numbers of winter-run chinook salmon — have gone to the state Fish and Game Commission to get an emergency closure of a section of the Sacramento River in Redding.  This year, though, they are asking the commission to permanently close for four months a year 5.5-mile section of the river, which also happens to be one of the most prized trout fishing streams in the state. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here:  Redding: State panel may make river fishing closure permanent

Stockton: A blues song for Delta asparagus: Michael Fitzgerald writes, “Wow, how sad to hear that the local asparagus industry, which gave Stockton a delicacy and a first-class festival, is dying from changing economics and regulations.  “From 1997 through 2015, the amount of acreage planted in asparagus declined 88 percent from just over 24,000 acres to less than 3,000,” a melancholy story reported Sunday.  The marriage of Stockton and asparagus was not some artificial exercise in branding. Asparagus found its way to Delta farming because it belonged there. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  A blues song for Delta asparagus

IOUs paying for Corcoran levee work:  “As work continues on a $14 million project to raise a flood control levee around Corcoran in anticipation of possible flooding from a giant snowpack, the work is being paid for with IOUs.  The Cross Creek Flood Control District is issuing the IOUs, also known as registered warrants, to contractors that are doing the actual dirt-hauling, grading and surveying to raise the levee by four feet, according to Dustin Fuller, district manager.  The levee has sunk in recent years due to subsidence, which is the phenomenon of the ground sinking due to groundwater pumping for agricultural use. ... ” Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  IOUs paying for Corcoran levee work

Worried state will step in, San Luis Obispo County supervisors decide county will pay to manage some groundwater areas:  “In a repeat of a vote taken three weeks ago, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors once again decided after a tense debate to pay for groundwater management in some unincorporated areas, at a cost of $6.1 million to $8.6 million paid by the county general fund.  The vote was 3-2, with supporters saying the county needed to step up and pay to prevent the state from taking over groundwater management, while opponents said the policy means some residents will be forced to subsidize others.  “It’s a money grab,” Supervisor Adam Hill said. “It’s a shame.” … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Worried state will step in, San Luis Obispo County supervisors decide county will pay to manage some groundwater areas

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

 

 

Sign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post …

Daily emailsSign up for free daily email service and you’ll get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. And with breaking news alerts, you’ll always be one of the first to know …


About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
%d bloggers like this: